I really love words. Especially other peoples. If I could, I would fill mason jars with the words I wish I could say, the words that have been said too many times before, and the words I'm working towards.
Zora Neale Hurston has this quote "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." from Their Eyes Were Watching God and I've recently been struck by this realization that we never know which years are meant to do what.
I'm far too inquisitive. The people I annoy tell me so, on a regular basis. My love of the answer has led to nicknames like Hermione (aka: giant teacher's pet) and the kind of conversations that make you wish you'd kept your mouth shut.
So I have some questions, oh Years, questions that may never be answered. And answers to the things I rarely question,
On Passover, the youngest child gets to ask "The Four Questions." It's a super sacred honor that sounds, phoneticall,y like "mah-neesh-ta-na-cha-lay-la-cha-zaee-mee-kohl-cha-lay-loyt" and so on...I only remember this because, the year I was old enough to memorize them, my family and I spent Passover in Israel and the WHOLE mishbucha (family) sang along. It was jolly good fun. But I was devastated, as home videos prove (I'm the queen of the awkward facial expression and, back then, I was the princess)!
Anyway, what that mumbo-jumbo boils down to is "Why is this night different from all other nights of the year?" But I can't think of a way to ask my questions so succinctly. And I'm not really sure my life has ever given me the answers.
If we think about it, though, I am at this moment the youngest version of myself. In that case, I should be entitled to ask my four questions (right?!?!):
1. Am I doing the right thing? Better yet: Is there really a right and wrong, outside of our civil confines?
2, Does anyone really care if I straighten my hair today? Or eat another cupcake?
3. How many licks does it take to get to the center of the Tootsi-Pop (AKA: Is patience really a virtue? How do you pause life without being a CLOCKSTOPPER?!? )
4. What will really be important to me, in fifty years?
As a child, I lived in this really tiny bubble where I knew all the things I wasn't supposed to do and I did my best not to do any of them. The most trouble I ever really got into was telling both of my parents that I hadn't been given dessert, one night, and- on a whim- both of my parents gave me ice cream sandwiches. TWO ICE CREAM SANDWICHES. They were delicious. Until I got caught. And, from that ice cream sandwhich lesson, I learned to always tell the truth and appreciate the ice cream sandwiches I got.
Boy, that's a lame story.
I'm worried I'll look back on my life and wish I'd eaten the ENTIRE BOX OF ICE CREAM SANDWICHES and then blamed it on the next door neighbor's nonexistent-cat.
But 21 years have certainly brough me some answers:
1. When you put your hand on the stove, it burns.
2. Things usually happen for a reason,
3. That nagging in your stomach, like there's a child tugging on your appendix, is your instinct telling you that something isn't right.
4. Organized chaos is real. But, from anyone else's perspective, will always look more-or-less insane.
The rest, I'm still trying to figure out.
I'm trying to live in the moment, to be appreciative, to recognize when to hold on and when to let go.
I'm trying to take pride in the work I've done and the things I want to do.
I'm trying to be fair to myself. To give myself the benefit of the doubt and the tools I need to keep trying.
Maybe that's what life has taught me: To keep trying.
That is neither a question or an answer but maybe we don't know either until it's too late to revise our answers or rephrase our questions.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.